Contemporary Art in Berlin

We hear it everywhere: Berlin is THE place to be for contemporary art in Europe! Young, open-minded, dynamic and offbeat, everything can happen in Berlin and “underground” is the word in every mouth. Many internationally-renowned artists have chosen this city to live and work/establish their studio such as Wolfgang Tillmanns, Olafur Eliasson, and Daniel Richter to name a few.

Here are a few places that Artsper has selected for you to get your share of contemporary art during your vacations !



The Hamburger Bahnhof is a former train station that once ran between the capital and the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, now turned into a museum of contemporary art. The combination between a historic building and a modern architecture in 10,000 square meters makes up for the ideal place to host a modern art collection with artists such as Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Keith Haring, as well as more innovative artists from the contemporary art scene.

The works exhibited mainly come from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin collection and the private collection of Erich Marx.

In 1997, the museum organized its first major exhibition on Sigmar Polke. Then in 2004, the museum significantly expanded to accommodate the collection of Friedrich Christian Flick as a long-term loan.

Today, it is one of the widest exhibition spaces and most significant public collections of contemporary art in the world.

To learn more.


KW Institute for Contemporary Art

The KW Institute for Contemporary Art is an open and collaborative place dedicated to the production and promotion of advanced contemporary art in collaboration with artists and international institutions. Through its exhibition and artistic events, it is a platform reflecting the latest of national as well as international contemporary culture.

Built in the 1990’s in a former margarine factory, the KW Institute does not have its own collection, which makes it very flexible in its programming and the audience it targets.  Since 1996, the KW Institute hosts the contemporary art Biennale of Berlin.

On view this summer: an exhibition entitled “Fire and forget” (June 14-August 30st), that tackles the subject of weapon systems launched from a safe distance, and the preconceived ideas on war and weapons.

To learn more.



The Boros collection is inside the famous « bunker of Berlin », a former air-raid shelter built during WWII, abandoned at the end of combat, and turned later on into a nightclub. It is now a museum of contemporary art.

Christian de Boros, owner of a major German advertisement agency, bought the bunker in 2003. He had it refurbished into a penthouse on the top floor and transformed the rest of the building into a contemporary art museum in order to exhibit the pieces of his private collection comprised of sculptures and installations. He also asked many worldwide artists, such as Ai Wei Wei, Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anselm Reyle and Cosima van Bonin to create pieces specifically for this unusual space.

To learn more.



Erika and Rolf Hoffman arrived in Berlin soon after the reunification in 1990 and, very soon after, wanted to give their private collection a proper home. They chose a former sewing machine factory in the Mitte district and opened the doors of their collection for the public to see every Saturday.

Started in 1960, the collection of this collecting couple consists of artists from very diverse horizons such as famous American artists Frank Stella, Bruce Nauman and Mike Kelley, but German artists from Group ZERO like Heinz Mack, and Otto Piene, or artists from East Europe and Asia like Hiroshi Sugimoto and Olga Chernysheva.

To learn more.



Entirely not-for-profit and managed by artists, this place is a must-see of Berlin’s alternative cultural life. Only open since 2009, the Grimmuseum is the epitome of the open-minded art center: it offers exhibitions, artist residencies, travelling exhibitions and performances focusing on the most avant-garde emerging artists of the Berlin art scene.

This summer, the Grimmuseum will host the NO SHOW MUSEUM, the world’s first museum of nothing with collection of works and documents of over 120 internationally renowned artists of the 20th and 21st century. From August to October 2015, the NO SHOW MUSEUM is touring in Europe and will end up in Venice for the 56th Biennale. The Grimmuseum will be its Berlin stop to showcase the latest exhibit: « Nothing by Joseph Beuys, Gordon Matta-Clark, Agnieszka Kurant, Santiago Sierra, Robert Rauschenberg and Ben Vautier ».

To learn more.


Berlinische Galerie 1

The Berlinische Galerie was created in 1975 to exclusively showcase art from Berlin. It also opened to international art movements starting in the 70’s such as the Secession with Max Liebermann and the expressionists with Otto Dix and Georg Grosz, the New Objectivity, and the avant-garde from East-Europe as well as conceptual and multimedia contemporary art.

This summer, an exhibition entitled “Art in Berlin 1880-1980)” is organized for the 40th anniversary of the museum and will shed light on the many faces of Berlin art from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th.

To learn more.



The Neue National Galerie opened in 1986 as a duo with the Alte Nationalgalerie exhibiting classical art. Its collection, even though damaged by the Nazis and their hunt of “degenerate art” during WWII, consists of a large selection of works from the 20th century in Europe and United States with artists from the Die Brücke group, cubism, surrealism, the 50s and 60s. Among them: Ferdinand Hodler, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol.

The building is surrounded by sculptures by Henry Moore, Richard Serra or Alexander Calder.

To learn more.



For those who have planned to go on vacation outside of school breaks, Berlin Art Week will be going on from September 15th to 20th . This event gathers a large number of art fairs and events in most of the places mentioned above.

Among the art fairs, you will have the choice between Abc-art Berlin contemporary, Positions Berlin-Art Fair and the collaborative project “Stadt/Bild”, along with over 20 institutional exhibitions, gallery night, performances, movie projection and lectures.

Last year, Berlin Art Week attracted over 80,000 visitors: an event that contributes to the city being a key spot of the art market!

To learn more.



You might have heard about the mysterious overnight disappearance of the famous wall by the street artist Blu last year… The artist himself, author of the a large mural near a wasteland in the district of Kreuzberg, had his piece painted over in the night of December 11th to 12th in order to protest against estate developers’ project to build the area over.

If this notorious piece has disappeared, Berlin remains one of the most vital spots for street art in Europe, since it is the heart of alternative culture.

Street art tours are now booming in capital cities all over Europe. The concept is simple: you, a bunch of intrigued and open-minded tourists and locals, and a guide who knows where to find the most freshly painted walls and the best-hidden pieces. Blu, Roa, Blu, Roa, Augustine Kofie, MTO, Os Gemeos and Vhils are some of the street artists who have left their mark on the town.